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Aston Villa v Manchester United – Preview

Aston Villa host Manchester United on Sunday, the second of the visitors four games in just seven days following last Sunday’s postponement against Liverpool.

Here’s all you need to know about that meeting at Villa Park:

Form

Aston Villa: WLLDW

After having scraped survival on the final day of last season, Villa have been much improved this term, with a top-half finish still looking like a possibility as the campaign reaches its climax.

While they’ve no doubt been impacted by the absence of talismanic midfielder Jack Grealish of late, they proved at the weekend that they can still win without him, Dean Smith’s side picking up a hard-fought three points against European hopefuls Everton at Goodison Park.

The away side took the lead early on through Ollie Watkins, the forward netting his 13th league goal of the season after latching onto a Mason Holgate error, before fellow England international Dominic Calvert-Lewin nodded home minutes later to draw the hosts level.

With the game finely poised, Anwar El Ghazi curled home in the 80th minute, securing an eighth Premier League away win of the season for Smith’s men, their highest total in the top-flight since the 2009/10 campaign.

Although that victory did little to alter their league position, it is a real marker of the impressive strides they’ve made this season, the team developing into a stubborn defensive unit as well as having a real threat in attack, particularly in the form of former Brentford man Watkins.

Ahead of the clash with United, the Villans will be holding their breath to see if Grealish will be fit to return, the Englishman having missed the club’s last 11 matches.

Meanwhile, January signing Morgan Sanson is also expected to be absent, while wideman Trezeguet is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering a significant knee injury at Anfield last month.

Manchester United: WWDWL

In what’s been an already hectic campaign for the Red Devils, they are set for their busiest spell of the season in the coming days, with four games in just seven days, including three Premier League encounters in the space of five days.

Such a crammed end to the season has largely been impacted by the postponement of Sunday’s meeting with bitter rivals Liverpool, after United supporters gained access to the Old Trafford pitch in the hours before kick-off.

That largely peaceful protest saw United fans voicing their grievances against controversial owners the Glazer’s, who have long been a source of anger among Red Devils supporters for plunging the club in debt after taking over back in 2005, and a perceived lack of investment since.

While fans have long protested against the American owners, their involvement in the plans for the attempted European Super League breakaway have exacerbated that frustration, with the United faithful demanding a change in ownership.

As for their on-field displays, United ended their semi-final hoodoo to reach the Europa League final on the Thursday night, despite succumbing to a 3-2 defeat in an unexpectedly dramatic second-leg in the Stadio Olimpico, the enthralling encounter seeing Edinson Cavani once again demonstrate his growing importance to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side with a brilliant brace.

That clash in Italy saw Red Devils once again be without Anthony Martial and Phil Jones, while winger Daniel James was also absent from the travelling squad due to injury.

Last Meeting

Man United 2-1 Aston Villa, 1 Jan 2021

The two sides last meeting came back on New Years Day at Old Trafford, with United, at the time, hoping to boost their title credentials.

In a lively opening, the hosts saw Anthony Martial’s curling effort well saved by Emi Martinez, while at the other end David De Gea was forced into a vital low save to deny John McGinn’s volleyed effort.

After chances at both ends of the pitch, it was United who took the lead just before the interval, Martial this time finding the back of the net with a well-guided header after good work from Aaron Wan-Bissaka down the right.

The away side then struck back on 58 minutes through Bertrand Traore at the back post following a quick free-kick, before the home side edged back in front just minutes later through Bruno Fernandes, the midfielder converting from the spot after Paul Pogba had been brought down inside the area.

Predicted Lineups

Aston Villa: Martinez; Cash, Mings, Konsa, Targett; McGinn, Luiz, Barkley; Traore, Watkins, El Ghazi

Man United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Pogba, Fernandes, Rashford; Greenwood.

Who is the referee?

Chris Kavanagh

What channel is it on?

UK and Irish readers can watch the match on Sky Sports Premier League.

What time is kick off?

Sunday 9 May, 14:05 BST

Odds

Aston Villa – 7/2

Man United – 8/11

Draw – 3/1

Read – Why the rest of us let Manchester United fans down in their protest of the Glazers

Read Also – Five of the best Europa League semi-final moments

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